Ancentral Flavors (Pichincha – Imbabura)

Whit this tour we want you to taste local ingredients and artisan products as well as to learn the history and culture of the region, particularly with respect to how it influenced the development of the cuisine.      

Whit this tour we want you to taste local ingredients and artisan products as well as to learn the history and culture of the region, particularly with respect to how it influenced the development of the cuisine.

Day 1
Quito- Cochasqui – Cayambe

Today, you will start a marvelous trip to the north of the Ecuadorian highlands. You will have the opportunity to know more about the indigenous community’s life style. Your first stop will be Cochasqui. The pyramids of this place are considered the most important archaeological site in the Northern Andes of Ecuador. In 1979, this place was declared a Cultural Patrimony of Mankind. Cochasquí is made up of 15 truncate pyramids and about 20 dispersed funeral knolls, all of them are enclosed in a 84 hectares area. The history of Cochasquí goes back from year 950 AD to 1550 AD, with two well differentiated periods defined by the type of pottery found by archeologists. The remarkable panoramic view from the site has led archaeologists to assume that Cochasqui was built for strategic purposes. There, you will have a gorgeous view of the mountains.

Later, you will be driven to Hacienda Molino San Juan which is a typical hacienda of the Ecuadorian highlands. As soon as you arrive, you will taste a simple and very popular mix in Ecuador named “Chulpi-chochos”. This dish is the union of the golden corn “Chulpi” and the pale “Chocho” which is a grain. The foods that grow in this region are delicious and unique. Some plates are not very elaborate. They constitute a real delight for the senses and have excellent nutritional properties.

Molino San Juan is the living testimony of the “wheat milling”. Its walls keep the customs of the traditional wheat farm. The history of this hacienda dates back to the earliest colonial period (1584), where the first lands where assigned. The property passed to the Jesuit priests in 1690, and they introduced the production of flour in this area. This hacienda rescues, preserves and promotes the recipes of the “Cocina Quiteña” and handles the principles of the garden to your table. In the afternoon, you will help the chef with the dinner, and your first work will be to collect the products from the farm.

You will have an Ecuadorian cuisine class! Here, you will cook one of the 30 ancestral recipes that at least maintains the Kayambi community. The chef recommendation is a delicious soup named “Uchujacu” (Spicy flour). This recipe has more than 300 years. This soup is made with a flour obtained from six grains (corn, wheat, barley, beans, peas, lentils) and three spices (garlic, achiote, cumin). You will start the preparation visiting the old mill of the hacienda where you will grind all the grains and spices. This plate will be adorn with pieces of roasted cuy or lamb, cheese, egg and cooked corn. The natives offer this plate in: marriages, baptisms, and ancestral celebrations. Overnight (B,L,D).

Day 2
Organic Vegetable Garden – Pachamanca – Yachak Visit

This morning, you will collaborate with the preparation of a typical Cayambe breakfast. There, you will see the production of the flour and assist to a small cooking class where the chef will explain you the elaboration of the typical biscuits. These will be served with a hot chocolate and cheese. On this day, we will have a great experiential experiences.

First, we will visit a farm that under ancestral techniques and agroecology forms produce a great variety of vegetables and fruits absolutely organic and with great quality. This farm is an ecological example of producing food without chemicals. In this place, you can see all the productive capacity and the goodness of the agroecology techniques. This place invites you to learn in a practical way these types of techniques that are in absolute harmony with the environment, which promote the consumption of healthy products and the development of local markets. On the farm, we will pick some vegetables to have for lunch a Pachamanca experience which is one of the oldest forms of Andean cooking. This process consists of making a hole in the ground and heating the bottom with hot stones, wood and aromatic leaves. Then, we will put the food and cover it for some hours. The time of cooking will depend of the food that we will cook.

After, you eat this delicious meal, you will visit a Yachak. He is a moral authority, a wise man who has gone through a long and difficult initiation. He is a strongly structuring element that maintains the cohesion of the group, at the same time spiritual guide, social axis and healer. Shamanism in Andean towns is an activity whose origin goes back to the prehistory of humanity. In the late afternoon, you will travel to an indigenous community where your host family welcomes you to your guest room (private bathroom, hot water) and invites you to participate in their activities (there is no set schedule or plan of activities, the idea is to see and learn about the life within the community). Later, you will enjoy organizaing and cooking the dinner which will be made with fresh ingredients from the organic house garden. Overnight (B,L,D).

Day 3
Train Ibarra – Salinas – Ibarra/ Transfer To Quito

After a good night’s sleep and a delicious breakfast, you will be driven to Ibarra train station. This day, you will have the opportunity to visit Imbabura, the most diverse province of Ecuador.  La Libertad Train offers a unique journey starting from Ibarra, the “White City” to reach the warm Salinas, where you are received to the tune of la “bomba”. This route has seven tunnels dug with pick and shovel and tall bridges across steep canyons. You will discover colorful murals commemorating the history and culture of Afro-ecuadorian people. Visit its museums and enterprises and enjoy the local cuisine in a trip full of memorable experiences. You will observe the culture and history of Afro-Ecuadorians which is alive and present in its streets, Tren de la Libertad, takes you through the history, music, gastronomy, crafts and the amazing landscapes of the northern Andes. The lunch will be organized with the people of the community. Departure to Ibarra in the afternoon. The range of altitude will be from 1.600 to 2.200 meters above sea level. The temperature ranges from 14º a 25ºC. We recommend you to bring a light jacket, walking shoes, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, camera, cash and insect repellant. Finally, you will be driven to Quito. Overnight (B,L,-).


Day 1 Quito- Cochasqui – Cayambe
Day 2 Organic Garden – Pachamanca – Yachak Visit
Day 3 Train Ibarra – Salinas – Ibarra/ Transfer To Quito


Not Included
  • Drinks and extras not mentioned in the program.
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel Insurance
  • 2 nights of accommodation in mentioned hotels or in similar ones.
  • Meals as mentioned in the program (B= Breakfast; L= Lunch; D= Dinner)
  • Private Transportation with all facilities.
  • All transfers and excursions and events according to the program
  • English speaking local guide
  • All entrance fees
  • Local hotel taxes